Earlier today (8th September 2017) I issued the following press release:
The High Court has today decided that the challenge to the “votes for money” agreement between the Government and DUP must be heard initially by the Divisional Court in October. The decision that the application for permission should be heard orally by a Divisional Court is highly unusual but the Court decided that the issues raised and their urgency called for a special hearing. The hearing is likely to take place in the next few weeks.
Edwin Coe LLP issued an application for judicial review acting on behalf of Ciaran McClean, a resident of Northern Ireland, a politician in the Green Party and a campaigner for the Good Friday Agreement, in relation to the decision by the Prime Minister to seek to enter into an agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party so that the DUP would support the Government in votes of confidence and on supply votes.
The basis of the claim is that any agreement between the Government and DUP will be in breach of the Good Friday Agreement under which the Government undertook to exercise its power in Northern Ireland “…with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all the people in the diversity of their identities and traditions.” Further it is claimed that the agreement breaches the Bribery Act 2010 and is in any event unlawful as a corrupt arrangement.
David Greene, partner at Edwin Coe and who acted in the Article 50 litigation, said “We believe the Court has concluded correctly and in accordance with our submissions that this is a matter of such constitutional importance that even the application for permission should be dealt with by a Divisional Court as was the Article 50 application. Both we and the Government have made out our cases and nothing in the Government case dissuades us from concluding that the DUP Agreement is corrupt and very simply unlawful.”
Mr McClean said “I am extremely happy that the Court has decided that the issues here are of such magnitude that a special court must be convened to hear what we say. We issued the application for judicial review of the decision by Theresa May to enter into the agreement with the DUP. That agreement is, in my view, no more and no less than the purchase by the Government of votes in Parliament using public money. It is clear to me and the thousands who have contributed to the crowdfunding on CrowdJustice that that is simply wrong and puts the Good Friday Agreement in severe danger.
We crowdfunded the case and we have many supporters. They will be heartened by the Court decision and I hope others will now join us. Crowd justice have organised the crowdfunding on here.
I have already explained that I regard the deal between the DUP and the Government as a disaster for the Good Friday Agreement and I remain of the view that the Government is acting unlawfully in both breaching its obligations under that Agreement, in breaching the Bribery Act and the general law against corruption.”
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